Polaris ponied up a $1 million grant to develop an on-the-job training program specifically for powersports techs. The “Service Technician Education Program” (STEP) connects college curriculum with real word wrench-spinners working the dealership level in a partnership between Central Lakes College (CLC) in Brainerd, MN, and local dealer Power Lodge.
“In addition to providing hands-on learning experiences for students, this project helps decrease the technician labor shortage in the industry by connecting trained students with our dealers to complete a specific list of services while working alongside dealer technicians,” explains Power Lodge director of operations Laura Fleisher. Students will be paid for their work as student technicians when working for the dealership as part of a new career pathway in the industry. “As a result, more experienced technicians are freed up to work on more complicated services. Simultaneously, we will be building the next generation of skilled professional technicians.” Win-Win!
“This program is about building a connection between powersports businesses and students who have chosen powersports as their career,” adds Bridget McLennan, Polaris VP, dealer services. “STEP brings new life to powersports and marine programs offered at colleges like CLC while strengthening this industry as a relevant and meaningful career path that fosters diversity, equity and inclusion,” she notes.
“Not only is the curriculum focused on emerging vehicle technologies, but it’s also infused with rich hands-on learning experiences for the students. CLC has a compelling and exciting program, and the partnership of powersports dealers like Power Lodge helps apply those learnings in an actual work environment, ultimately building a highly-skilled network of future employees in a high-demand field.”
CLC, Polaris and Power Lodge will begin building the foundational capabilities of this comprehensive pilot program immediately, with full implementation at CLC to begin with the 2022-2023 academic school year. Based on critical milestones and success proven under CLC and Power Lodge’s leadership, additional Polaris educational partnerships will have access to the modified curriculum and will be encouraged to replicate the model.
Polaris anticipates the pilot program with CLC and Power Lodge to train 80 student technicians and an additional 89 staff over the course of the grant, many of whom will be hired upon graduation.